‘Har­ley’s been build­ing Sport­sters for so long the mo­tor is a proven unit’

‘The race se­ries bikes used stock en­gines, which shows how tough they are’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling - Gavin Cupit Har­ley-david­son Europe Tech­ni­cal Ser­vice Project Man­ager

“Like many Har­leys, the XR has a Kevlar belt and just like chain drives, you should al­ways check the con­di­tion. Belts aren’t sus­cep­ti­ble to fail­ure, but if the pul­leys pick up a stone this can punch a hole through the belt. If the hole is in the mid­dle of the belt and not more than 7-8mm in di­am­e­ter it’s not a prob­lem, but if the da­m­age cuts the edge of the belt it can lead to a tear and a snapped belt.

“The good news for the XR is that un­like some mod­els that re­quire the swingarm to be re­moved to swap the belt, you only need to take the right-hand shock off. A belt costs roughly £218, but if looked after (tension spec ad­hered to etc) it can last the life of the bike.

“Har­ley have been build­ing the Sport­ster range for so long the mo­tor is a proven unit, but the XR’S isn’t a to­tally stan­dard engine. Much like the new Mil­wau­kee-eight, it has oil­cool­ing around the ex­haust valve pock­ets. The UK race se­ries bikes were to­tally stock XR mo­tors, which shows how re­li­able the engine is be­cause it was put through a load of abuse and never over­heated!

“Al­ways go for a bike with a good ser­vice his­tory, which is ev­ery 5000 miles, and as it has hy­draulic tap­pets there are no valve clear­ances to check. One thing to watch out for is the type of oil used by the owner. While in­line fours run 10/30 light­weight oil, a Har­ley’s air­cooled mo­tor needs 20/50 oil as it has to deal with a wider tem­per­a­ture vari­ance and, there­fore, needs the thicker oil to pro­tect it. When it comes to per­for­mance, a free-flow­ing air fil­ter and race ex­haust matched to a new ECU map makes the bike not only sound great but helps re­lease a bit of ex­tra power and torque and won’t af­fect re­li­a­bil­ity.

“There are a few ex-race bikes out there, which are ac­tu­ally quite dif­fer­ent to the stan­dard road bike. The rac­ers had a 17in front wheel to widen the tyre choice and also Har­ris Per­for­mance yokes with longer shocks to sharpen the ge­om­e­try slightly to speed up its han­dling. Ob­vi­ously Har­ley don’t rec­om­mend you al­ter the bike from stan­dard as sta­bil­ity may be com­pro­mised, but Har­ris still sell all the parts re­quired to make an XR racer rep for the road and th­ese are fab­u­lous to ride!”

Ex­am­ine the belt for nicks and tears and check ba­sics such as the sus­pen­sion LOOK HERE LOOK HERE

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